It was a busy year for publicly-traded tech companies in the Seattle region, with plenty of winners and losers.
The region’s two heavyweight tech titans produced opposite results on Wall Street, with Amazon shedding 22 percent of its value while Microsoft gained 24 percent under the leadership of newly-appointed CEO Satya Nadella.
But the year for public tech stocks in Seattle may be best remembered for those whose ticker symbols disappeared. In a blockbuster $8.3 billion deal that closed last month, SAP gobbled up Redmond-based travel and entertainment expense management powerhouse Concur.
On the less positive side of the fence, Seattle biotechnology company Dendreon filed for bankruptcy in November — a tough milestone for the long-struggling maker of prostate cancer treatments.
However, Seattle saw three new biotech companies emerge on Wall Street with IPOs in 2014: Alder BioPharmaceuticals, Juno Therapeutics and Immune Design. All three performed well.
Of the 22 public companies we tracked, 10 saw declines last year. That followed an overall positive year on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 7.5 percent to close at 17,823. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 13.4 percent.
Here’s a look back at the publicly-traded tech stocks from Washington state in 2014. Which stocks do you think will have a big year in 2015?
The Bothell biotechnology company went public in May, one of three life science companies to do so in the state. The stock priced at $10 per share, and closed up three cents in its first day of trading. A bit of a lackluster performance. However, things heated up in the latter half of the year, and Alder finished 2014 as the top stock of the year. Not bad for a company with just $38.8 million in revenue in the third quarter, most of it coming from a decision by Bristol-Meyers Squibb to end its partnership with the company. Alder is working on a rheumatoid arthritis drug, as well as treatments for migraines.
2014 close: $29.09, up 190 percent. $896 million market value.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has had a magical touch on Wall Street — in part because the billionaire e-commerce pioneer doesn’t seem to care for the short-term thinking of his former Wall Street colleagues. But Bezos’ luck dried up a bit in 2014, as Amazon.com lost 22 percent of its value. That followed a whopping 62 percent gain in 2013. Bezos, for his part, doesn’t seem to care what Wall Street thinks of him. Instead, he spent much of 2014 making huge bets — releasing everything from a new smartphone (largely panned as a flop) to the Amazon Echo personal assistant to a slate of new TV shows. Amazon also continued to hire like mad, nearing 150,000 employees worldwide. A dispute with publishing giant Hachette did not really help Amazon’s image, which is perceived by many as the new “Borg” in the tech industry. The question is: Has
2014 close: $310.35, down 22 percent. $143.6 billion market value.
After a stellar 2013 in which the stock gained 90 percent, Blucora gave back some of its value this past year. The Bellevue company, formerly known as InfoSpace, continued to diversify through acquisitions. It purchased the content site HowStuffWorks in April for $45 million, adding to its lineup of properties such as tax software provider TaxAct and electronics e-commerce marketplace Monoprice. Hard to imagine that this company was once a dot-com darling led by Naveen Jain.
2014 close: $13.85, down 52 percent. $567 million market value.
Things did not sparkle for online diamond ring retailer Blue Nile, which gave back nearly all of its gains from 2013. Rising diamond prices took a cut out of Blue Nile’s sales in the second quarter, with CEO Harvey Kanter at the time calling the market for loose diamonds as “volatile.”
2014 close: $36.01, down 24.6 percent. $426 million market value
Jerry Chase, who took the helm of Bellevue-based Bsquare last February, did a good job of repositioning the Bellevue company, which is attempting to capitalize on the big Internet of Things trend. The company was profitable in the third quarter, as revenues grew six percent.
2014 close: $4.55, up 35 percent. $53 million market value.
The Seattle supercomputer maker landed some blockbuster contracts in 2014 — a $30 million deal with the U.S. Department of Defense; an $80 million deal with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; and a $128 million deal with the U.K’s weather agency (the largest in the company’s history). Those deals led to yet another strong year for the company.
2014 close: $34.48, up 24.6 percent. $1.4 billion market value.
2014 close: $3.38, up 35 percent. $26.5 million market value.
Another solid year for Expedia, which saw its revenue grow 22 percent in the third quarter to $1.7 billion. It continues to face stiff competition from Booking.com, and another rival may be on the way after reports surfaced in November that Amazon.com is contemplating launching its own travel service.
2014 close: $85.36, up 24 percent. $10.8 billion market value.
This quiet giant in Seattle’s tech scene continued to perform well under the direction of well-respected CEO John McAdam, who announced in October that he planned to retire in 2015. Will F5 be able to keep up its winning ways under a new CEO? That will be the big question in 2015 for the company, which is frequently the subject of acquisition rumors.
2014 close: $130.46, up 46.2 percent. $9.6 billion market value.
Though technically not headquartered in Washington state, Google’s presence in the region continues to grow with more than 1,000 employees split between Kirkland and Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Interestingly, Amazon just poached Google’s longtime site leader in Seattle, Chee Chew. And Google chairman Eric Schmidt noted in October that its biggest search competitor is Amazon, not Microsoft or Apple. Look for more heated competition between the two in 2015.
2014 close: $530.66, down 5.2 percent. $358.5 billion market value.
The Seattle cancer research company raised $60 million in its July IPO, pricing shares at $12. Shares have been soaring in the past three months.
2014 close: $30.78, up 155 percent. $519 million market value
Juno came on the scene in a big way in 2014, raising $314 million in venture capital before going public in December at $24 per share. Could this be the next big biotech company from Seattle? Industry watchers sure hope so. Even better, the Jeff Bezos-backed company believes it could be on the path to finding treatments for cancer.
2014 close: $52.22, up 49.2 percent. $4.7 billion market value.
A tough year for the Seattle online advertising company, with CEO Russell Horowitz noting that the third quarter “came with certain challenges.” The company saw a $21.8 million loss from continuing operations during the quarter.
2014 close: $4.59, down 45.5 percent. $196.6 million market value.
It was certainly a historic year for Microsoft, as longtime CEO Steve Ballmer handed the reins over to Satya Nadella and Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the board. The executive transition, which took forever to execute, was greeted with enthusiasm by Wall Street which celebrated the arrival of Nadella. The question remains: How long will the honeymoon last?
2014 close: $46.45, up 24.5 percent. $382.8 billion market value.
Shares of the maker of display technology soared after UPS said that it was using Microvision’s Pico P technology to assist with a new package guidance application at the logistics giant — one designed to increase processing efficiency in package sorting and routing.
2014 close: $1.74, up 32.8 percent. $77 million market value.
The Seattle maker of genetic research tools saw its stock decline in 2014, following a blockbuster 2013 in which the company went public.
2014 close: $13.93, down 15 percent. $253.5 million market value.
The Coinstar and Redbox kiosk operator gained some ground in 2014, despite the fact that it shut down a streaming media business unit operated in conjunction with Verizon. The companies pulled the plug on Redbox Instant in October, a sign that Outerwall has failed to catch up to Netflix. Furthermore, the company blamed a lackluster movie release schedule for poor results at its Redbox unit this past summer.
2014 close: $75.22, up 14 percent. $1.4 billion market value.
Rob Glaser sealed his return to the streaming media pioneer he founded 1994. The company has a new headquarters across the street from Safeco Field at the Home Plate Center builder. Can Glaser get his beloved company to hit another home run?
2014 close: $7.04, down 8.8 percent. $253.6 million market value.
The fast-growing data visualization pioneer continued to hire like mad in 2014, inking new leases in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Tableau employed 1,717 people worldwide at the end of September, up 65 percent year-over-year.
2014 close: $84.76, up 25.3 percent. $5.8 billion market value.
Hard-charging and Red Bull-drinking T-Mobile CEO John Legere continued on his quest to disrupt the wireless industry. Legere has said he wants to overtake number three U.S. carrier Sprint. If he does it, that will be a remarkable turn of events, especially since Sprint called of its planned takeover of T-Mobile in August.
2014 close: $26.94, down 19 percent. $21.8 billion market value.
Zillow was the top performer of 2013, and while it lost that crown this year, the company still saw a 31 percent gain. It was also a big year for Zillow, which in July announced its $3.5 billion acquisition of longtime rival Trulia. That deal is set to close in early 2015.
2014 close: $105.89, up 31.2 percent. $4.3 billion market value.
It was a tough year for the e-commerce retailer, which saw its stock sink to near its IPO price. An email snafu caused problems in the third quarter for Zulily, and it suffered from higher marketing costs. Even so, Zulily posted $285 million in third quarter revenue, a 72 percent gain. Wall Street was not impressed, sending shares down.
2014 close: $23.40, down 42.3 percent. $2.9 billion market value.
Here’s a look back at the 2013 winners and losers, with Seattle-based Zillow leading the pack in 2013 with a 198 percent gain.